Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, welcomed news that his work has helped secure the release of three security contractors, including two U.S. citizens, who had been detained in Iraq since December 9.
The three men, Army veteran Alex Antiohos of Long Island, New York, National Guardsman Jonas March of Savannah, Georgia, and Kevin Fisher of Fiji, all contractors for a security firm, were detained by Iraqi Army forces in Mahmudiyah, part of the infamous "Triangle of Death," and held until early today without being charged with any crime.
Immediately after learning of the men's detention from Antiohos' wife Melissa last week, King pressed the State Department for help in securing their release. Last Wednesday, King wrote a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, urging that the men be released. King's staff followed up by personally pressing Iraqi officials at the Iraqi Embassy in Washington for the release of the men.
King said: "I am pleased that these three men have been released after having been detained for no reason. With the unfortunate and clearly deteriorating security situation in Iraq and with al-Qaeda in Iraq still very active, these men were in increasing danger with each passing day.
"I appreciate the efforts of officials at the Department of State and U.S. Embassy Baghdad, as well as individuals at DoD and the White House who worked to secure the men's release. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who represent Jonas March, were also very engaged and deserve great credit for this good news."
Antiohos, March, and Fisher were reportedly detained while escorting a logistical convoy simply because the Iraqi Ministry of Defense officials did not like the "mission request authorization" paperwork that had been issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. The men were never charged with any crime.